UiT Norges arktiske universitet

Fakultet for humaniora, samfunnsvitenskap og lærerutdanning - Institutt for språk og kultur




Postdoctoral Researcher in Heritage Language Bilingualism at UiT The Arctic University of Tromsø

One Postdoctoral Researcher position within Heritage Language Bilingualism is available in the Department of Language and Culture at the University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway. The position is affiliated with the LAVA research group (Language Acquisition, Variation & Attrition) and is connected to a large research project HeLPING (Heritage-Bilingual Linguistic Proficiency in the Native Grammar: Charting and Explaining Differences), funded by the Tromsø Forskningsstiftelse (Tromsø Research Foundation) 2019-2023. This is one of several postdoctoral researcher and Professor II position associated with HeLPING.


The appointment is a fixed term position for a period of four years.


For further information about the positions and the project, please contact Professor Jason Rothman, Tel: +47 77644256, E-mail: j.rothman@reading.ac.uk.




The position is affiliated with the Department of Language and Culture (ISK). The Department has 75 permanent employees, 10 adjunct professors, and approximately 30 PhD fellows. Additionally, the Department has approximately 25 temporary research and teaching positions. The Department’s core activities are research, teaching, and dissemination within linguistics, literature, art history, and media and documentation studies.


The Department has a very active and diverse research profile. It houses one of the world’s most excellent research communities in linguistics, with research groups within cognitive linguistics (CLEAR), Sami language technology (Giellatekno and Divvun), socio-linguistics (LAIDUA), language acquisition (LAVA), and theoretical linguistics (CASTL-FISH). The Department’s research communities within literature, art history, and media and documentation studies are nationally highly competitive, and are organized into research groups such as Health Art Society (HAS), Russian Space, WARGAME and ALMPUB.


ISK offers one-year programme education, Bachelor, and Master programmes within general linguistics, literature, art history, media and documentation studies, English, Kven, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian, Sami, Spanish, and German. It also offers PhD education within cultural/literary studies, art history, media and documentation studies, and linguistics.


The LAVA research group currently consists of 21 active researchers, including seven professors/associate professors, four Professor II positions (20%) who are top, internationally recognized leaders in our fields, a lab manager, four researchers/postdoctoral fellows, three MSCA postdocs, and four PhD students. The group members are involved in a number of research projects both locally and internationally, e.g. the MiMS and SALT projects financed by the RCN. For further information about the group’s work and activities, see the website of the LAVA research group here: http://site.uit.no/lava/


The HeLPING project has received funding (NOK 28 million) from Tromsø Forskningsstiftelse (Tromsø Research Foundation), 2019-2023. The advertised researcher position is connected with this project and will give the successful candidate the opportunity to work closely with an outstanding team of linguists.


The appointed Post-doctoral Researcher must have her/his daily workplace at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, campus Tromsø.



The position’s field of research/research project and other duties


HeLPING, brief project description: Heritage language bilingualism—the acquisition of a native language in a home context in which the majority societal language is distinct—has shown significant degrees of variation in development, but especially ultimate attainment outcomes from monolinguals of the same language and across individual heritage speakers. The primary objective of HeLPING is to answer: Why is Heritage language bilingualism characterized by such variation in grammatical knowledge and language use to degrees unseen in monolingials? by addressing these equally fundamental secondary objective questions: (Aim 1) when and why do developing monolinguals and HSs begin to diverge for the same language?, (Aim 2) at what levels (under what modalities of testing) do HSs truly differ? and (Aim 3) what is the role of the (lack of) HL literacy in explaining (some) observed HS outcomes? HeLPING will address these queries combining insights from several work packages focusing on complementary questions and using complementary methodologies (cross-sectional and longitudinal offline behavioral testing, EEG/ERP, eye-tracking).

The current postdoctoral research position will work primarily on work package 1 (WP1): WP1 relates to the question detailed in Aim 1: when and why do HSs (begin to) diverge from mono­linguals developmentally? WP aims to capture the time window during which ‘something’ happens to HS grammars, that is, the timeframe—mid/late childhood through adolescence (4-18 years of age)—scholars agree changes to HL grammars likely take place. Despite compelling reasons to the contrary, data from these pinnacle developmental years are scarce in the available literature. We will take a longitudinal approach (testing the same people over 3 years). By testing multiple ages over time, we will be able to bring the longitudinal data sets together cross-sectionally to cover over a decade of development. The goal is to be able to chart change within individuals over the three years in each group, yet also combine cross-sections for a larger analysis.

            This project is flexible in terms of the specific heritage language to be used and, to an extent, the domain of grammar to be tested. Gender (and Case if applicable) was conceived as a good domain to examine given previous work by the PI and expertise in this area across LAVA. Russian, German, Scandinavian and Romance languages are especially welcome given expertise in the group and the facts of these languages. In due course, there will be a HeLPING website for further information (including the full research proposal). For now, kindly contact the PI Prof. Jason Rothman (see contact details above) for access to the research proposal and if you have any questions.


Qualification requirements

  • A PhD in Linguistics, Psychology or another relevant field.

  • High command/competence of statistical modelling—Bayesian modelling is highly desirable—and research design expertise.

  • Experience with experimental methods in language acquisition.

  • Experience working with children is desirable.

  • Native or near-native proficiency in the languages proposed for the study will be preferred, but language support for testing (research assistants) can also be provided.

  • Excellent command of spoken and written English.


The applicants must provide a research proposal (5 pages maximum), indicating which heritage languages and domain(s) of grammar you would work on in light of the above description (it must conform to the general methodology outlined above, if the domain of grammar is different from gender (and Case)—and this is fine—you should describe with greater detail the morpho-syntactic domain), the types of tasks you envisage using to test the domains of grammar, the other types of testing you might want to do at the same time (background questionnaires, cognitive functions, proficiency and the like) and how your plan can accomplish Aim 1. The general structure of WP1 will not change from what is described above, however, the details of how the general rubric is implemented are very flexible. This research proposal is your opportunity to indicate how you would approach properly addressing Aim 1.

Personal suitability will be given special consideration in the evaluation process.


Working conditions

The working hours are reserved for research, research related activities and research administration.


The successful candidate must be willing to engage him/herself in the ongoing development of their discipline and the university as a whole.


The remuneration for this position is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1352.

A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.



The application must be submitted electronically via the application form available on www.jobbnorge.no and shall include:


  • letter of application

  • project description

  • CV (containing a complete overview of education, supervised professional training and professional work)

  • diplomas and references (a list of 3 recommenders to be contacted by committee only in the event you are invited to interview)

  • list of works and description of these

    • the list of works shall contain the following information:

      • author(s), the work’s title

      • for articles: the journal’s name and volume, the first and last page of the article, year of publication

      • for publications: publisher, printer, year of publication, number of pages

      • NB: up to ten works that are central to the applicant’s academic production. The applicant’s PhD thesis should be submitted as one of these works.  If not yet submitted, please include a chapter or two for assessment.  Note that having a successfully conferred PhD is a requirement for employment at the start date of August 1st, 2019.  If your PhD is not yet submitted or defended, please also include a letter from your advisor guaranteeing you can meet the requirement for employment by August 1st, 2019. 

Additionally, the applicant should provide a description of his/her academic production, indicating which works are the most relevant in relation to the announced position, and therefore should be emphasized in the assessment. The remaining listed works should be described briefly in order to demonstrate the depth of the production. The descriptions should be attached to the application.



The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. It is the committee’s mandate to assess the applicants’ qualifications based on their submitted works and the job announcement.


The best qualified applicants will be selected for interviews. The interview shall among other things aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position. The applicants may be required to give a trial lecture.


Other information

The University of Tromsø wishes to increase the proportion of women in research positions.

In the event that two or more applicants are found to be approximately equally qualified, female applicants will be given priority.


For further information, applicants should consult the supplementary regulations for appointment to postdoktor (postdoctoal Research Fellow), stipendiat (PhD) and vitenskapelige assistent (Research Assistant) positions at the UiTand the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment.


Questions concerning the organization of the working environment, such as the physical state of the place of employment, health service, possibility for flexible working hours, part time, etc. may be directed to the telephone reference in this announcement.


UiT’s HR policy objectives emphasizes diversity, and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of gender, functional ability and national or ethnic background.


UiT is an IW (Inclusive Workplace) enterprise, and will make the necessary adaptations in order to facilitate for employees with reduced functional ability.


Personal data given in an application or CV will be processed in accordance with the Act relating to the processing of personal data (the Personal Data Act). In accordance with Section 25 subsection 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, the applicant may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants. However, the University may nevertheless decide to publish the applicant’s name. The applicant will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.





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About this job

  • Deadline
    Friday, March 1, 2019
  • Employer
    UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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  • Duration
    Fixed Term

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